María Cisneros. Legendary Star

Photo by Juan Díaz

I am a woman, a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother, an educator, a leader, a mentor and a connector/bridge builder. I am, Maria Lopez-Cisneros. Leading the way by breaking tradition and creating new traditions. Balancing a professional life as an empowered woman with all the expected cultural traditions in a Latino based community. I take my roles very seriously. If I can make a difference for one person everyday, I know that they will have a brighter future. I love observing students as they rediscover their passion for learning. Every day that I walk through classrooms I am reminded that students depend on us to provide them with the tools for success; young people that one day will be leaders in our communities and supporting us in our old age.

My role as principal at Valley Oak High School is even more critical because the students there have not had great success in school. The job of an educator and leader is to empower youth and to prepare them for the 21st Century and beyond. Reflecting on my own educational experience, I had a wonderful support system in my community. I wholeheartedly believe in paying it forward. That is why I have served on nonprofit boards and organizations. I currently serve on the Board of Directors for the Napa Valley Community Foundation. On this board I am able to stay in tune with the needs of the community. I get to be part of the umbrella of nonprofits that continues provide funding support to organizations that focus on the greater good of the community at large.
Maria L. Cisneros, MA, has supported, teachers, counselors, students in staff in the Napa Valley Unified School District. She is the principal of Valley Oak High School and NVUSD AVID Coordinator. As a former counselor, her focus has been on ensuring that students are learning and preparing for their next educational experience. She was instrumental in implementing the AVID program district-wide. A powerful program that prepares students for college. As the principal at Valley Oak High School, she focuses on empowering students by connecting them back to their education. Many of her students have not had previous success in school therefore, the role her staff is critical. In addition to her work in school, Maria has been involved in various non-profit organizations.

She is currently on the Napa Valley Community Foundation Board of Directors, where she serves as Secretary of the Board, and is the co-chair of the 30th Annual Napa County Hispanic Scholarship Gala. She has received various honors, including the 2012 Continuation School Principal of the Year. She is married to Gary Cisneros and has a beautiful daughter Maya.

María is the first of her family to attend a four-year university. She attended Sonoma State University. She posses a BA in Spanish Literature and Culture, MA in Counseling Administrative Credential.

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